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Ten cities honored for efforts by households to reduce greenhouse gas emissions
Riverside, Claremont top winners in CoolCalifornia City Challenge to reduce cities’ carbon footprints
DIAMOND BAR - The cities of Riverside, Claremont and Rancho Cucamonga — top finishers in a competition among cities to cut carbon emissions — received special recognition today at an award ceremony before the California Air Resources Board, marking the completion of the second CoolCalifornia City Challenge.
In a hard-fought battle, the city of Riverside edged out second-place Claremont to be crowned the state’s “Coolest California City.” Claremont and third-place Rancho Cucamonga each were named “Cool California Cities.” ARB Chairman Mary D. Nichols presented the mayor or representative of all three finalist cities with a special award at today’s Air Resources Board meeting. The Board also recognized all participating Challenge cities, including Arcata, Burlingame, Chula Vista, Corona, Long Beach, Lynwood and Mission Viejo.
Together, all 10 Challenge cities engaged nearly 4,000 households to take simple, everyday actions to reduce their carbon footprint. Compared to last year, this year’s challenge had 40 percent more households and 60 percent more greenhouse gas reductions in half the time. In total the participants saved more than 800,000 pounds of carbon dioxide, equivalent to removing more than 140 California homes from the grid or 80 automobiles from the road for a year.
“This year’s competition was impressive, engaging thousands of households and civic groups in simple actions to fight climate change, and save money at the same time,” ARB Chairman Mary D. Nichols said. “The CoolCalifornia City Challenge once again demonstrated the important role that cities play in the state’s efforts to fight climate change and move us toward a cleaner, sustainable economy.”
Today’s award ceremony wraps up the six-month challenge in which thousands of households in cities across California competed for the biggest citywide carbon footprint reduction. Cities sought to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and create vibrant, healthy communities by encouraging residents to conserve household energy and reduce emissions from driving cars.
Participants engaged in a wide range of activities, including replacing light bulbs with more efficient LEDs, drying clothes on the line, using less air conditioning when possible, and biking or taking public transit. Some chose to invest in rooftop solar or purchase electric vehicles, decisions that will provide carbon reductions and additional savings for many years.
Participants logged their monthly energy data and motor vehicle miles onto an online website that determines how much carbon is being cut and calculates how many points those actions generated for each household and municipality.
All cities received a portion of $100,000 in prize money based on the number of households that signed up by May 30, and how many points they earned at the close of the contest on Sept. 29. The largest sum — $32,950 — went to the city of Riverside. Funding for the prizes was provided by Energy Upgrade California™, a statewide initiative to educate Californians about how to manage energy in their homes and businesses.
In addition to a cash prize to use for the civic improvement of their choice, the winning city gains bragging rights and recognition. ARB and program partners at the University of California Berkeley also gain valuable information about how to get individuals to voluntarily make changes to curb their carbon footprints and foster sustainability and green economic development. Voluntary actions are included as elements in California’s climate plan, and ARB has developed a variety of tools and resources to support these non-regulatory efforts. For more information, click here.
“The CoolCalifornia City Challenge is an outstanding example of action at the local level that saves both carbon and money, and provides a platform for cities to learn from each other,” said Professor Daniel Kammen, who led the pilot research for the Challenge along with lead researcher Christopher Jones, at UC Berkeley’s Renewable and Appropriate Energy Laboratory. “Consistently we have found that sharing best practices is often the missing link in advancing the ability of communities to become more sustainable.”
Photos of the awards ceremony will be available for download on Flickr.
ARB's mission is to promote and protect public health, welfare, and ecological resources through effective reduction of air pollutants while recognizing and considering effects on the economy. The ARB oversees all air pollution control efforts in California to attain and maintain health based air quality standards.